In today’s world, businesses haveembraced different approaches that are aimed at increasing theirsales volume. One of the most common ways is the use of adverts thatare placed on different media platforms. For instance, pharmaceuticalcompanies are implementing this mechanism by engaging in the Directto Consumer (D2C) advertising. They are airing their adverts ontelevisions, radios and on the internet during prime shows enablingthem to create awareness about their drugs to potential customers.Concern has been raised regarding whether the marketing tacticinfluences the viewer’s thinking. The debates associated with theissue have resulted in the development of new laws that banpharmaceutical advertisements in countries such as Canada, although,in nations such as the US, the practice remains legal (Veronese,2011). Despite the difference in opinions, D2C drug advertisingshould be prohibited because they are misleading to the public, thepharmaceutical companies are not fulfilling their moralresponsibility, it increases unnecessary utilization, and thepractice requires massive financial resources.
One of the aims of marketing is to equipthe potential customer with all the relevant information regarding aproduct/service. Similarly, when pharmaceutical companies engage inD2C advertising, they create awareness about a drug by focusing onits benefits on their healthcare. In some of the adverts, theyindicate the side effects of using the drugs and encourage thecustomer to seek medical advice if their symptoms persist (Veronese,2011). However, an analysis of such ads shows that the side effectstend to be appear in smaller fonts that make them almost invisible tothe consumer. Besides, they put more emphasis on the benefits byimplying how the drug is the only option that people have to reachhealth improvement. For instance, an advert of Boniva, a drug used tostop bone loss lists the risk factors associated with the drugs onthe screen whereas the woman in the ad places more emphasis on thebenefits of the medication (Veronese, 2011). She even goes ahead toconvince the viewer’s using the findings of previous researches.Therefore, D2C advertising should be made illegal as it easilymisleads the public to believe that a drug such as Boniva is thesolution to bone loss, particularly if they do not read theinformation portrayed on the screen.
Businesses and the healthcare department ofa state are required to observe the ethical standards. Drug companieshave a responsibility of providing all relevant information to theirtarget market and where necessary, propose alternatives to taking thedrugs since a drug that might work sufficiently for one individual,might fail to work in another (Pietranglo, 2009). On the other hand,the physicians also have a moral duty of informing their patients theavailable kinds of medication and the most suitable to them includingthe side effects of each, and any other clarifications the personseeks. Therefore, the D2C advertisements are not ideal for thesociety because they fail to fulfill their ethical duty. The ad isusually focused on creating awareness about a particular product thatthey wish to boost its sales level (Biegler& Vargas, 2013). They cannotshowcase alternative drugs to the viewers because it shall interferewith the consumer choices. Besides, proposing other medicines for thecustomers might prolong the length of the advert, which implies thatthe cost of airing the content to the public increases (Pietranglo,2009). Since the drug companies are not focused on fulfilling theirmoral responsibility, their marketing should be prohibited.
Another reason why D2C drug advertisingshould be terminated is due to the massive financial resources itconsumes. Critics believe that the companies involved in marketingpromote a healthy lifestyle among the public and thus, should beallowed to advertise the medications available (Biegler& Vargas, 2013). In the US, theadvertisements are controlled by the Food and Drug Administrationsince the development of the Food and Drug Act in 1938 (Ventola,2011).Avorn states that since the flexingof the FDA rules in 1997, there has been a rapid growth of D2Cadvertising that has also resulted in increased financial expenses(2009). The number of medication adverts rose on television, whichconsumes more time than an individual spends with a physician. Therecent increased use of the internet has also promoted thepharmaceutical industry to invest almost $1 billion in onlinemarketing (Ventola, 2011).The citizens are less likely to visit hospitals as they prefer theavailable information on the internet that can be convenientlyaccessed. Such practices are likely to undermine the quality ofhealthcare since the health-related content is likely to misguide thepublic. Hence, the ads should be abolished and the financialresources being used by drug marketers diverted to other criticalprojects.
Marketing has always influenced thecustomers to utilize a product more. The marketers tend to studytheir target niche and end up using an approach that they ensure itsatisfies the needs of the consumers. Drug companies are aware ofthis tactic and have widely applied it in marketing theirmedications. They understand that consumers have more faith in thephysicians as compared to ordinary individuals (Biegler& Vargas, 2013). Therefore, theyinvolve them in their adverts by asking them to address the publicabout the benefits of using a particular drug. Besides, they issuethe doctors with brochures for distribution to the patients who visitthe clinics. Some pharmaceutical companies have even gone to theextent of striking a deal with physicians where they earn extra cashbased on the quantity of medication they give to their patientswithin a defined period (Veronese, 2011). The approach is applied tonew and expensive drugs so that when the demand increases, thebusinesses generate more profits. Such a move where marketers arefocused on their selfish gains at the expense of the public providesmore reason why D2C drug advertising should be abolished. Thepharmaceutical companies tend to encourage unnecessary utilization ofa drug in the name of generating sales, yet, in reality it may beexposing a larger population to other medical risks that arise fromthe side effects of using the medication (Veronese, 2011). Themarketer’s practices are slowly undermining the health care reformsbecause instead of making the world a safer place, they areendangering the public.
In conclusion, media and online advertsthat promote D2C drug advertising are not good for the society. Theytend to mislead the public that the medications support a healthylifestyle. The companies also fail to meet their moral responsibilityas they are focused on boosting sales. Marketing of thepharmaceutical products also consumes vast financial resources thatcan be utilized in alternative projects that promote better healthcare. The adverts should also be abolished as they encourageunnecessary utilization of drugs among people.
Avorn, J., Angell, M., Bailey, R., Othmer,J. P., Donohue, J. M., Raj, R., … Crister,G. (2009). ShouldPrescription Drugs Ads Be Reined In? TheNew York Times. Retrieved fromhttp://io9.gizmodo.com/5853356/sick-of-pharmaceutical-ads-heres-why-they-wont-go-away>Accessed on 6/4/2017
Biegler, P., & Vargas, P. (2013). Banthe Sunset? Nonpropositional Content and Regulation of PharmaceuticalAdvertising. American Journal ofBioethics, 13(5),3-13. doi:10.1080/15265161.2013.776127
Pietranglo, A. (2009). ShouldPharmaceutical Ads be banned from TV? Care 2. Retrieved fromhttp://www.care2.com/causes/should-pharmaceutical-ads-be-banned-from-tv.html>Accessed on 6/4/2017
Ventola, C. L. (2011). Direct-to-ConsumerPharmaceutical Advertising: Therapeutic or Toxic? Pharmacyand Therapeutics, 36(10),669–684.
Veronese, K. (2011). Sick of PharmaceuticalAds? Here’s why they won’t go away. GizmodoMedia Group. Retrieved fromhttp://io9.gizmodo.com/5853356/sick-of-pharmaceutical-ads-heres-why-they-wont-go-away>Accessed on 6/4/2017
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